Kevin Love has started the 2013-14 NBA season with a bang. After winning this year’s first Western Conference Player of the Week award, he hasn’t slowed down.
Love has been dominant for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and it’s helped them get off to a winning start. The most exciting thing about Love’s play is that while he’s still doing the things we know and love him for — rebounding at a tremendous rate and scoring at an elite level using multiple spots on the floor — he’s also become one of the Timberwolves’ best passers.
There were rumors going into the season that Love would be used as more of a facilitator this year, and they seem to be true. After dishing out seven assists in the Timberwolves last game, he is averaging an even five assists per game. That number is good enough to lead the league in assists among power forwards.
Some of Love’s most highlight-worthy assists have come in the form of outlet passes to Corey Brewer, who returned to the Timberwolves this offseason. The addition of Brewer has been key to Love’s improved passing game, as his speed and cutting skills have helped him get consistent open looks near the basket. Brewer’s reckless quickness and Love’s surprisingly strong and accurate throwing arm have made for a lethal combination so far this season.
If Love continues to play at this level, it will show that he is truly dominant at every aspect of the offensive game. His defense is clearly not at the same level, but the 15 rebounds per game he’s averaging right now kind of make up for that. It also shows that Love is committed to winning and trusts his teammates, two things that are very important after rumors of him defecting to the Los Angeles Lakers or Chicago Bulls swirled around all offseason.
The Timberwolves are playing with excellent ball movement, and they’ve played some beautiful basketball in this young season. If Love and the rest of the Timberwolves keep it up, they will be a playoff team this year and for the rest of Love’s time in Minnesota.